True Lithuania

Individual Sports in Lithuania

Lithuania had some remarkable talents in several non-team sports over the time.

Recently Lithuania excelled in modern pentathlon and discus throwing. In the discus, 3 of the 4 men gold medals in 1992-2004 Olympic games were awarded to Lithuanians (Romas Ubartas and Virgilijus Alekna).

The strongmen of Lithuania excelled in most competitions, led by Žydrūnas Savickas, who won the title of World's Strongest Man on many occasions. The strongmen events in Lithuania are regarded as family-friendly sports entertainment, many have free entrance.

Lithuanian national strongmen team (Vytautas Lalas, Vidas Blekaitis, Žydrūnas Savickas) breaks the world record at three-men loglifing (502,5 kg) during the Baltic championship 2013 in Vilnius. ©Augustinas Žemaitis.

Winter sports are less popular partly due to a relatively warm climate and lack of mountains. Independent Lithuania failed to receive even a single medal in Winter Olympics. However, alpine skiing and skating are quite popular pastimes. Many travel to foreign ski resorts, but modern indoor rinks/arenas are available in Lithuania.

Other recently popularized pastimes are running an cycling, both having a multitude of regular amateur competitions.

Tennis attracts media attention, but the best players of Lithuania Ričardas Berankis and Laurynas Grigelis are only in some 100 - 200 places of the ATP rankings.

After the 1990 restoration of independence and the end of Soviet censorship, any foreign TV shows used to attract unbelievably large audiences. Lithuanian TV stations acquired broadcasting rights to Bushido and Rings puroresu promotions shows, turning their largely Japanese fighters into household names. "Bushido" became a generic name for MMA in Lithuania, and "Rings" trademark was even acquired by a Lithuanian company. Lithuania now has some good MMA fighters and regular shows.

Watching Formula 1 is popular among some automotive fans but Lithuania never had world-famous racers. Aerobatics is a different case. Under the Soviet occupation, ethnic Lithuanians were barred from becoming commercial pilots, so many chose aerobatics instead. The entertainment/sports limit is arguable however with flights under bridges becoming such a popular publicity stunt ~2000 that pilot-politician Rolandas Paksas flew under one in his presidential campaign.

Cable park in Klaipėda with a wakeboarder. ©Augustinas Žemaitis.

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